Saudi Aramco to Increase Oil Production to Meet Global Demand | Aramco
Saudi Arabia’s state oil company said it would increase spending on oil production to meet growing global demand as it announced a doubling of profits in 2021.
Saudi Aramco – the world’s biggest oil exporter and one of the world’s most profitable companies – said its net profit rose 124% to $110bn (£83bn) in 2021, against 49 billion dollars a year earlier.
The company said its profits soared due to higher crude oil prices as demand for oil rebounded from the pandemic, and also due to increased margins from its refining and processing operations. chemical products.
Brent crude rose to $139 a barrel, a 14-year high, earlier this month but has since fallen closer to $100. At the beginning of December, the price of a barrel of crude was below 70 dollars.
Aramco expects demand for oil to continue to rise and said “substantial new investment” is needed to meet that demand, which is likely to dismay climate activists.
It said it was increasing its 2022 capital spending by about half to between $40 billion and $50 billion, with further growth expected through the middle of the decade. The state oil company’s capital spending was just under $32 billion in 2021, an 18% increase from 2020.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been urged in recent days by Western governments to pump in more oil to end their dependence on supplies from Russia.
The Gulf countries are the only two major oil producers that have an immediate reserve capacity capable of compensating for the lack of energy produced by Russia. However, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a recent report that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have so far shown “no willingness to exploit reserves”.
The two countries are both members of the OPEC+ cartel of oil-producing nations, which will next meet in late March to decide production levels. Despite the conflict in Ukraine, OPEC members only agreed earlier this month to increase production by a modest 400,000 barrels per day.
Labor has accused the UK government of ‘switching hands from dictator to dictator’ as it tries to resolve the energy crisis.
Aramco Chairman and CEO Amin Nasser said the outlook for oil demand remained uncertain “due to various macro-economic and geopolitical factors.” He added that the company’s investment plan “aims to harness the growing long-term demand for reliable, affordable and ever more secure and sustainable energy.
“We recognize that energy security is paramount to billions of people around the world, which is why we continue to make progress in increasing our crude oil production capacity, executing our gas expansion program.”
Aramco is just the latest of the world’s major oil companies to post soaring profits. In the UK, the bloated coffers of BP and Shell have pushed Labor to call on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to announce a windfall tax on oil and gas profits, an idea he has so far resisted.
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves renewed her calls on Sunday for the levy to be introduced to address the rising cost of living in the UK. “If we used this windfall tax on the big profits made by the North Sea oil and gas companies…to redirect it to keeping prices low, you would be tackling the cost of living crisis and you wouldn’t have no need for such big pay rises,” she told the BBC.
Aramco briefly became the most valuable listed company in history when it floated on the Saudi stock exchange in 2019 and was named the world’s most profitable company. However, it was later overthrown by American tech company Apple.
The public company said it would pay shareholders a dividend of nearly $19 billion for the final quarter of 2021, while also planning to distribute $4 billion in retained earnings to investors. That brings its total dividend for 2021 to $75 billion, excluding bonus shares.